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AirBear
07-12-2018, 08:37 AM
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/07/06/corps-competes-airlines-pilots-big-bonuses-grabs.html

Military.com 6 Jul 2018 By Gina Harkins
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps will offer pilots up to $210,000 to stay on for another six years as the military fights to keep its aviators from trading in their uniforms for jobs with commercial airlines.

Marine fixed-wing, rotary and tiltrotor pilots will see a slew of financial and flexible-career incentives in fiscal 2019 as part of the service's annual aviation bonus plan. Details will be released in an upcoming Marine Corps-wide administrative message, which Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco, a career aviator and head of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, signed Friday.

"One of the things I'm pretty excited about is that we gave them options," Rocco said. "We gave the [officers] choices ... where if they want to, they can sign up for two, four or six years."

Manpower officials hope staggering pilots' contracts not only stabilizes the "inventory" of aviators so everyone doesn't leave at once, he said, but also signals to Marines that leaders want them to have more choices in their careers.

The Air Force and Navy have announced similar bonuses for pilots. Rocco said the Corps hasn't lost as many aviators to commercial airlines as the Air Force. But the bonuses will help make it competitive with the Navy and Air Force, said Maj. Clif Rateike, the aviation officer planner.

The bonuses will target the captains and majors the Marine Corps wants to retain. Pilots in 10 military occupational specialties -- AV-8 Harrier pilot; F-35B Joint Strike Fighter pilot; F/A-18 Hornet pilot; F/A-18 weapons system officer; MV-22 Osprey pilot; KC-130 Hercules co-pilot; KC-130 pilot; UH-1 pilot; AH-1 pilot; and CH-53 pilot -- will qualify.

Fixed-wing and MV-22 pilots with less than 11 years in uniform who are willing to serve another six will see the biggest bumps with an extra $35,000 per year, or $210,000 paid out over the life of their contract. Marines who prefer a lump-sum option can pocket $178,500 at once, according to a draft copy of the MARADMIN.

Those with less than 11 years in who want to stay only another four years can pocket an extra $30,000 per year, or $120,000 total. Pilots of those aircraft who've served between 11 and 13 years can also earn $120,000 over a four-year contract, and those with 13 to 14 years in qualify for $60,000 over two years.

F/A-18 weapons systems officers and Huey, Cobra or CH-53 pilots with less than 13 years in are eligible for $80,000 over four years. Marines in those MOSs with between 13 and 14 years in can pocket $40,000 -- $20,000 per year -- if they sign on for another two years.

Factors such as retention in a particular MOS and the number of pilots in the pipeline to fill those slots influenced the bonus rates, Rateike said.

But offering incentives to every community is important for morale, Rocco said, adding that, early in his career, he saw some Cobra pilots qualify for bonuses while Huey pilots were left out.

"That's a terrible environment to be in, where somebody's basically doing the same job ... and [one] gets a bonus and you're not," he said. "Here, there is a bonus for everyone."

'A BUSINESS DECISION'
The Marine Corps can't compete with the salaries some commercial airlines are offering pilots, said Col. Gaines Ward, the manpower plans officer. But bonuses can influence a Marine's decision when it comes time to decide whether to stay or go.

Col. Sean DeWolfe, the aviation colonels monitor, said every Marine reaches that point in his or her career. Deciding whether to sign another contract becomes a personal decision.

"I didn't stick around because there was a bonus. I wanted to be around Marines, and a bonus just happened to be there," he said. "I have acquaintances though where the bonus did keep them in ... because at that point, it becomes a business decision when you reach that crossroad."

Like many Marines, pilots face that decision point around the 10-year mark, Ward said, which is why the aviation bonuses target those around that mark.

Aviation bonuses have been helpful in getting pilots to stay in the past, but it's not the only factor Marines weigh. Pilots' work-life balance and day-to-day life in the squadrons are also areas the Corps is monitoring closely, he added.

Pilots aren't the only Marines who can earn big bonuses in 2019. Earlier this week, leaders announced a host of re-enlistment bonuses for enlisted personnel in dozens of specialties, including squad leaders, air-traffic controllers and counterintelligence Marines.


kevbo
07-12-2018, 10:05 AM
Do those guys have a union?

Flytolive
07-12-2018, 10:29 AM
Do those guys have a union?No, but the draw of the high compensation, benefits and lifestyle negotiated by airline unions and increased hiring are the reasons these bonuses are being offered.

Same reasons that ME3 and other non-union operations have to pay comparably to unionized airlines. Union pilots do the heavy lifting and many other pilots benefit.


kevbo
07-12-2018, 02:45 PM
Having a direct path into a Major is like swimming with dolphins.

rickair7777
07-12-2018, 05:52 PM
No, but the draw of the high compensation, benefits and lifestyle negotiated by airline unions and increased hiring are the reasons these bonuses are being offered.

Same reasons that ME3 and other non-union operations have to pay comparably to unionized airlines. Union pilots do the heavy lifting and many other pilots benefit.

I hope you're not insinuating that military pilots are scabs. They didn't join to make money, a union in that context is laughable.

PotatoChip
07-12-2018, 06:44 PM
No, but the draw of the high compensation, benefits and lifestyle negotiated by airline unions and increased hiring are the reasons these bonuses are being offered.

Same reasons that ME3 and other non-union operations have to pay comparably to unionized airlines. Union pilots do the heavy lifting and many other pilots benefit.

Think you missed the joke due to some heavy ALPA kool-aid drinking, pal.

Flytolive
07-13-2018, 04:30 AM
I hope you're not insinuating that military pilots are scabs. They didn't join to make money, a union in that context is laughable.Wow! Good luck improving your reading comprehension.

Think you missed the joke due to some heavy ALPA kool-aid drinking, pal.I think you missed the realities of why airline pilot jobs are so desirable as to attract so many former military pilots including myself.

kevbo
07-13-2018, 12:53 PM
Always for love, never for money!

rickair7777
07-13-2018, 02:12 PM
Wow! Good luck improving your reading comprehension.

It's more your writing ability.

USMCFLYR
07-13-2018, 02:30 PM
It's more your writing ability.

I didn't get it either :confused:

Good for them.

Kevo - you certainly nailed that one on the head too.
No one joins the military thinking they are going to get rich.
Service before self.
Once you have served honorably - chase the dollars if you wish.
You will have done much for your country.

Flytolive
07-14-2018, 04:52 AM
I didn't get it either
Once you have served honorably - chase the dollars if you wish.
You don't give yourself enough credit. You got it. Good for you. Maybe you can help Rickair.

Blackhawk
07-14-2018, 05:29 AM
https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/000/157/itsatrap.jpg

Grumble
07-14-2018, 12:40 PM
https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/000/157/itsatrap.jpg

Foot stomp!

HuggyU2
07-15-2018, 08:05 AM
No, but the draw of the high compensation, benefits and lifestyle negotiated by airline unions ...

Yeah... I don't seem to remember the unions being that successful between United's 2000 "Summer of Love", through about 2014.

Flytolive
07-15-2018, 08:51 AM
Yeah... I don't seem to remember the unions being that successful between United's 2000 "Summer of Love", through about 2014.ALPA negotiated what were possibly the best airline contracts in history in 2000. Then 9/11, two ME wars, historically high fuel prices, SARS, BK laws that grossly favor capital, and a deregulatory global economic crisis made things a bit tough to say the least. But with consolidation and relative stability after 2008 ALPA quickly positively patterned bargained the contracts back up.

But pointing out the 'lost decade' illustrates my point. Was the military offering pilots hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay in back then?

Grumble
07-15-2018, 11:53 AM
ALPA negotiated what were possibly the best airline contracts in history in 2000. Then 9/11, two ME wars, historically high fuel prices, SARS, BK laws that grossly favor capital, and a deregulatory global economic crisis made things a bit tough to say the least. But with consolidation and relative stability after 2008 ALPA quickly positively patterned bargained the contracts back up.

But pointing out the 'lost decade' illustrates my point. Was the military offering pilots hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay in back then?

Yes.

Filler.

Flytolive
07-15-2018, 02:16 PM
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/04/whats-driving-the-u-s-air-force-pilot-shortage/

What’s Driving the U.S. Air Force Pilot Shortage?
It’s not leadership or combat culture driving pilots out of the service.

BY DAVID AXE | MAY 4, 2018

For months, senior U.S. Air Force leaders have issued dire warnings about the shortage of pilots, citing a 2,000-aviator shortfall.

The Air Force has just 18,000 of the roughly 20,000 pilots it needs to crew its 5,500 fighters, bombers, airlifters, cargo planes, and rescue helicopters. This 10 percent gap in its air crew requirement could “break the force,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson warned last November.

Yet the current manpower gap is just the latest in a boom-bust cycle in the Air Force’s ability to hold on to highly skilled aircrew. The Air Force has suffered serious pilot shortages no fewer than six times since its founding in 1947 — in the early 1950s, the late 1960s, the late 1970s, the mid-1980s, the late 1990s, and the early 2000s, according to official records, experts, and news reports.

“There is a cyclical pattern of pilot overages and pilot shortages within the armed services,” says Brian Laslie, a historian and author of The Air Force Way of War.

Pundits and even some pilots have tended to blame the Air Force’s culture and other less tangible causes. Navy pilot Lt. Jack McCain claims that Air Force pilots “are not provided the opportunity for meaningful leader development.” Mike Benitez, an Air Force fighter pilot, insists that a demoralizing “erosion of the Air Force’s combat culture is the real reason fighter pilots are leaving.”

Wilson and other Air Force leaders cite more prosaic causes for the current aircrew gap: long and too frequent combat deployments, inadequate pay and benefits, and the associated temptation for military pilots to take better-paying airline jobs.

Leaders say training more pilots, and keeping experienced pilots longer, will allow the Air Force to ease up on deployment rates for the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, thus alleviating some of the stress that contributes to aviators quitting the military for the airlines — even if the military can’t hope to actually match private sector pay and benefits.

But leaders haven’t publicly admitted that the most important thing the Air Force could do might be to simply hang on and wait for the economy to slow and airlines to cut back on hiring. That, more than any other factor, helped alleviate past pilot shortages.

In almost every case dating back to 1950, the Air Force’s aviator shortfalls coincided with aggressive hiring by airlines. As market conditions worsened and the airlines cut back, the Air Force’s own retention woes eased.

In the 1990s in particular, a booming economy made it hard for the flying branch to keep pilots. In 2015, Nolan Sweeney — an analyst with the Rand Corp., a California-based think tank with close ties to the Air Force — graphed airline hiring against the Air Force’s pilot losses from 1996 to 2012.

“[A]irline hiring provides an escape valve,” Sweeney explains in the report. “As the number of hires or the salary of commercial airline pilots increases, the escape valve widens, inducing more pilots to leave.”

The relationship between the civilian pilot market and Air Force pilot retention goes back decades. The U.S. Army Air Corps became the Air Force in 1947. The first pilot shortage struck three years later at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

The problem was that tens of thousands of pilots had voluntarily left the armed forces as the United States demobilized at the end of World War II. Not coincidentally, airlines were enjoying a huge postwar boom.

To fill the gap, the Air Force brought back some retired World War II combat pilots who weren’t already flying airliners and grew the training infrastructure for new crews. “[T]he ‘scramble’ was on to build a pilot force capable of meeting the demands,” Lt. Col. John Rhodes explains in a 1985 study of pilot shortages for the Air Force’s Air University in Alabama.

By 1966, the Air Force actually had a pilot surplus. The active-duty force needed 38,000 pilots, according to official statistics Rhodes compiled. In fact, it had 40,000.

The Vietnam War, and a second postwar expansion of commercial air travel, changed all that. To meet the relentless demands of a major overseas war, in 1967 the Air Force needed 46,000 pilots, but owing to strong private sector hiring it had only 38,000.

That 8,000-pilot gap — 17 percent of the requirement — is the biggest in Air Force history. The current shortage is around half as bad, adjusting for today’s smaller force.That 8,000-pilot gap — 17 percent of the requirement — is the biggest in Air Force history. The current shortage is around half as bad, adjusting for today’s smaller force.
In 1967, the Air Force solved its manpower problem in part by increasing new pilot production from 2,000 annually in 1966 to 3,500 in 1970. The service also instituted a new rule: No pilot would do two tours in Vietnam until every pilot had completed one. That eased the stress on individual pilots.

Not surprisingly, a slowdown in private sector hiring was also a critical factor. In 1970, the airline industry — struggling with slipping demand and rising fuel costs — lost money for the first time since 1962, according to statistics compiled in 2013 by Paul Stephen Dempsey, then the director of the Institute of Air & Space Law at McGill University in Montreal.

The pilot gap shrank to just 300 by 1971. With the U.S. drawdown in Vietnam and continuing softness in the commercial market, the aircrew deficit became a 2,800-pilot surplus in 1972.

President Ronald Reagan’s military buildup in the 1980s added 2,000 cockpit positions to the Air Force between 1980 and 1988. But by mid-decade, the economy was strong, and airlines were hiring. The service was, on average, 800 pilots short of its 25,000 aircrew goal for most of the 1980s.

Then, with the end of the Cold War, the Air Force retired thousands of aircraft and shuttered hundreds of bases. In 1994, the service had 750 more pilots than it needed. The military was firing; airlines were hiring. Pilots left the Air Force in droves, and by 1998 the flying branch was once again short aircrew.

The Air Force offered cash bonuses to pilots and doubled new aircrew production from 500 to 1,000 per year between 1996 and 2000. Meanwhile, the 9/11 terrorist attacks cut into airlines’ revenue and hiring. In 2001 and 2002, U.S. airlines lost nearly $20 billion combined, according to Dempsey’s statistics. Unsurprisingly, by 2006 the active Air Force had 13,600 pilots — 200 more than it needed.

To dig itself out of today’s aircrew hole, the Air Force is offering cash incentives, cutting back on pilots’ paperwork and other nonflying duties, and expanding the training pipeline so it can produce as many as 1,400 new pilots per year, compared with just 1,200 now.

Those kinds of initiatives have worked before to help close aircrew gaps. The trick, of course, is paying for it. Congress approved a roughly 10 percent budget boost for the Defense Department in 2018. The military wants another 6 percent increase for 2019. Those budgets require Congress to pass temporary exceptions to the 2011 Budget Control Act and its automatic sequestration budget cuts.

“If we go through sequester again, a 2,000-pilot shortage will be a dream,” Wilson said last year. “People will walk.”“If we go through sequester again, a 2,000-pilot shortage will be a dream,” Wilson said last year. “People will walk.”

The one thing the Air Force and Congress can’t control is the market for commercial air travel. And that market, more than any other factor, drives the military’s own pilot retention booms and busts.

The bad news for the Air Force is that, at present, airline hiring is strong all over the world. So strong that “you might find the same pilot shortages in other air forces, as well,” Laslie says.

Sweeney at Rand predicted that the Air Force would suffer high levels of pilot attrition through 2020. A 2017 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office anticipated a shortfall through 2023. The most pessimistic projection came from Air Force Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, who in March 2017 told the House Armed Services Committee that strong airline hiring could continue “for the next 10 to 15 years.”

Dempsey’s figures show airlines slipping into a roughly two- to five-year period of overall net loss about every six years between 1958 and 2007. The industry has been profitable since a steep drop in fuel prices in 2014. History points to a downturn, perhaps sooner than the Air Force anticipates.

The Air Force survived past pilot shortages, and experience indicates that it can survive the current crisis. If history is any guide, the best measures the Air Force can take to solve its pilot problem are to train more aircrews, reward existing crews for staying longer, and ease up on combat deployments.

But there’s something else the service must do: The Air Force must wait for the airline industry to take a downward turn and make military service more attractive in comparison.

If the Air Force pays more, trains more, and, as a result, can cut back on deployments — and waits — it might soon find itself with too many aviators.

DTDT
07-15-2018, 05:53 PM
It sure doesn't seem like we're short on pilots with the current state of our aircraft.

Even with a "shortage" of pilots we still don't get enough hours and mission prep time to be tactically proficient. If there were more mouths around to feed, it would be even worse.

We are short on people to fill the administrative roles and ground jobs that are normally given to pilots.

Wake me up when I'm flying more than 250 meaningful hours a year and then I'll believe there's a shortage of people to fly.

HuggyU2
07-15-2018, 08:20 PM
Was the military offering pilots hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay in back then?

Well, I cannot speak for everyone, but I got a big bonus.

Flytolive
07-16-2018, 02:38 AM
https://news.usni.org/2018/03/21/growing-demand-civilian-pilots-push-navy-triple-aviator-department-head-bonuses

Growing Demand for Civilian Pilots Push Navy to Triple Bonuses for Some Senior Aviators

By: Ben Werner
March 21, 2018 5:21 PM • Updated: March 21, 2018 6:42 PM

Pilots assigned to the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2 observe Capt. Tom Barber, commander, Carrier Air Wing 2, and Cmdr. Jason Hutcherson, commanding officer of VFA-2 as they fly over the flightdeck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). US Navy Photo

Facing pressure to retain aviators at a time when demand for commercial airline pilots is increasing, the Navy is nearly tripling bonuses for certain senior commanders to $100,000.


The Navy worries the prospect of better pay, benefits, and lifestyle will lure aviators to the private sector, where the average annual salary for pilots is $105,720, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) report. This salary is augmented by such perks as receiving expense allowances for every hour spent away from home, potential to earn extra pay for international flights, and often being entitled to free or reduced airfare for immediate family members.

In comparison, typical Navy aviators currently nearing the end of their initial commitments after attending flight school are earning an annual base pay of between $75,000 and $85,000, according to 2018 military pay scales. Naval aviators can expect to spend weeks away from home training, and six months or more away if deployed with an air wing operating with an aircraft carrier, where meals are provided in the wardroom.

Federal studies and industry groups describe the Pentagon and corporate world as poised to be locked in an increasingly tight competition for experienced pilots as more commercial aircraft are expected to operate at a time the existing pilot workforce loses a steady flow of pilots to mandatory retirements.

During the next decade, about 4,500 new pilot positions are expected to be created. At the same time, an increasing number of current pilots will reach the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated retirement age of 65, according to the BLS report.

Currently, there are about 124,800 airline pilot jobs in the U.S., and the average age of these pilots is 50 years-old, according to a General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) analysis of FAA statistics. Meanwhile, the business jet industry is also growing. The GAMA reports also predicts more of these small corporate jets enter service, more pilots will be needed to fly them.

With this in mind, the Navy unveiled a new bonus program, increasing pay for pilots who screen and serve in career milestone billets, and aviators selected to be commanding officers can receive $100,000 for agreeing to a 3-year contract.


Lt. Eric Wickens performs pre-flight checks on an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Golden Dragons” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). US Navy Photo

“Our bonus and flight pay programs have proven successful in the past at retaining our best and brightest aviators. However, these programs have remained essentially unchanged for well over a decade, and are beginning to lose their effectiveness in the face of growing competition for talent,” said Capt. Michael Baze, the Navy’s head of aviation career management, in a release announcing the bonuses.

Previously, the Navy offered a $36,000 bonus for signing a 2-year commitment to retain aviation department heads. The Navy considers these department heads an integral part of air operations, providing what the Navy’s bonus announcement describes as “the crucial link between senior leadership and junior personnel.”

Yet Navy aviators do not serve solely for the money; they’re in the Navy because they love flying and find the missions more exciting than what’s offered by the private sector, the Navy’s Air Boss Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller recently told USNI News, while vising Naval Air Station Fallon.

The decision to remain in the Navy, Miller said, boils down to each aviator asking if, “I still wake up with a passion for this business, and it’s meaningful. I still think, in the positions that I’ve been given, that I can make a difference. And I’m still having fun – this is rewarding.”

Those three questions will not get a yes every day, but if aviators say yes overall, Miller said the Navy stands a good chance at retaining them. Speaking of the experience flying for the Navy, Miller said, “If we’re flying, there’s no better flying in the world.”

The following is the full Navy statement released March 20, 2018 announcing the aviator bonus program.

Navy Continues and Expands Aviation Bonus Program

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy announced March 20 the Active Component (AC) fiscal year 2018 Aviation Department Head Retention Bonus (ADHRB) and Aviation Command Retention Bonus (ACRB) and the expansion of Aviation Incentive Pay (AvIP) for both AC and the Reserve Component aviators in NAVADMIN 065/18.

The AC Aviation Bonus (AvB) program, consisting of the ADHRB and ACRB, incentivizes
highly-talented, hard-working, career-minded Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers (NFO) to choose to remain on active duty.

“Our Bonus and flight pay programs have proven successful in the past at retaining our best and brightest Aviators. However, these programs have remained essentially unchanged for well over a decade, and are beginning to lose their effectiveness in the face of growing competition for talent,” said Capt. Michael Baze, head of aviation career management at Naval Personnel Command.

“We asked Aviators of all ranks how we should modernize and improve moving forward. Aviators reported they wanted our programs to be more flexible, merit based, and competitive with civilian opportunities. We took that feedback seriously, incorporating each of these elements in the program changes you see here today.”

AC ADHRB has undergone substantial reform. Capable and dedicated department heads are
vital to mission effectiveness and represent the crucial link between senior leadership and junior personnel. The eligibility timeline has shifted from the expiration of the aviator’s winging service obligation to their lieutenant commander board. Aviators can choose from a five-year contract or a three-year contract. Members who take the five-year contract early will receive a higher annual amount than members who take a five-year later or a three-year contract.

AC ACRB is designed to retain those officers with the talent and command experience in
primary warfighting missions that are critical for the future of our service. The new ACRB shifts from a 2-year, $36,000 total contract to a 3-year, $100,000 total contract. Members must select after screening for commander command and the obligation takes them through 22 years of service or the completion of their post-commander command tour, whichever is longer.

For AvIP, Navy is establishing expanded rates for aviators who screen and serve in career milestone billets. Aviators who do not screen or serve in milestone billets, but continue to qualify for flight pay, will continue to receive flight pay, but at a different rate than aviators in milestone positions.

“Aviation has taken a holistic approach that synchronizes targeted increases in both flight pay and bonuses in a mutually supportive fashion with achievement of major leadership milestones. The end state will be a judiciously applied, merit based, more competitive continuum of pay for our top Aviators from Department Head through post-Commander Command,” said Baze. “Coupled with a range of non-monetary incentive improvements we are making, these changes will go a long way towards helping us retain the warfighting talent we need into the future.”


https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/05/31/retention-bonuses-are-spiking-for-a-lot-of-air-force-pilots-could-you-get-up-to-420k/

Retention bonuses are spiking for a lot of Air Force pilots — could you get up to $420K?

By: Stephen Losey  

The Air Force this year is offering some bomber, fixed-wing combat search-and-rescue, special operations, mobility, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance pilots the same massive retention bonuses as fighter pilots.

In an email Thursday, Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Kate Atanasoff said that those pilots could receive aviator retention payments of up to $420,000 if they sign up to serve the maximum 12 more years — the same maximum benefit 11F fighter pilots could receive.

This represents the broadest expansion in years of the Air Force’s Aviation Bonus Program, one of the service’s most crucial tools in its effort to stop the departure of experienced pilots.

Part of the problem is that commercial airlines can offer much higher salaries than the Air Force can, which has contributed to an alarming pilot shortfall that top leaders have warned could “break the force.”

These bonuses don’t completely close the gap, officials said, but help narrow it a little.

“This is a strategic force management tool tailored annually to meet Air Force requirements and help retain the right mix of critical aviation skills needed to improve the readiness and increase the lethality of the force,” Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in the email. “This bonus doesn’t allow us to compete financially with airline salaries, but it recognizes the inherent sacrifices associated with aviation service and provides an offset to help potentially rebalance the scale between service and sacrifice.”

The Air Force used to offer fighter pilots Aviator Retention Pay bonuses of $25,000 per year, meaning if they signed up for the maximum nine-year extension, they could get up to $225,000. Other pilots were eligible for smaller bonuses.

Congress in December 2016 upped that maximum annual bonus to $35,000. And in 2017, the Air Force dramatically lengthened the maximum service commitment extension for fighter pilots to 13 years, or until they reached 24 years of aviation service, meaning they could get bonuses of up to $455,000.

But that expansion did little to stop an ongoing slide in the so-called “take rate,” or the percentage of aviators agreeing to stay longer in exchange for hefty bonuses.

The overall take rate declined from 55 percent in fiscal 2015 to 48 percent in 2016, and then to 44 percent last year ― well below the 65 percent Air Force officials usually hope will accept the retention bonuses.

And only five fighter pilots in fiscal 2017 opted for the full, up to 13-year service commitment and the up to $455,000 that comes with it.

The Air Force is throwing money at pilots to stay. Fewer and fewer are interested.

Despite offering large retention bonuses to entice pilots to stay in the Air Force, the percentage of eligible pilots accepting them is plummeting.

This year, however, the maximum service commitment available to fighter pilots has been trimmed slightly to 12 years.

But opportunities are expanding for 11B bomber pilots, 11R command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, 11S special operations, 11M mobility, and 11H fixed-wing CSAR pilots.

Bomber, SOF and mobility pilots last year could only get annual bonuses of $30,000 for signing up for a maximum of nine years ― or up to $270,000 ― and C2ISR and CSAR pilots could only sign up for five more years with annual payments of $28,000, or up to $140,000.

This year, however, all of those pilots, if eligible, can sign up for contract extensions of 10 to 12 years, and receive annual payments of $35,000.

A B-1 bomber separates from the boom pod after refueling on April 13 en route to strike chemical weapons targets in Syria. (Department of Defense via AP) A B-1 bomber separates from the boom pod after refueling on April 13 en route to strike chemical weapons targets in Syria. (Department of Defense via AP)

Fighter and bomber pilots signing up for 10 to 12 years will also be able to receive almost half of that maximum bonus as an up-front payment of $200,000, according to a chart provided by the Air Force.

That is a change from last year, when the Air Force dropped the lump-sum option.

Fighter and bomber pilots can also sign up for four to six or seven to nine more years, with $35,000 annual payments, and could take a $100,000 lump-sum payment if they extend their contracts by seven to nine more years.

SOF, mobility, C2ISR and CSAR fixed-wing pilots signing up for 10 to 12 years will not be eligible for a lump-sum payment.

And the annual bonuses for SOF, mobility, C2ISR, and fixed-wing CSAR pilots drop to $30,000 if they sign up for four to nine more years. They could get a $100,000 up-front lump sum if they extend their contracts by seven to nine more years.

Eligible 18X remotely-piloted aircraft pilots would only be able to sign up for four to six or seven to nine more years, with $35,000 annual payments.

They cannot sign up for 10 to 12 more years or receive lump-sum payments.

The annual payment for RPA pilots remains unchanged from last year, but the possible contract length is greater. Last year, RPA pilots could only sign up for five more years.

11H CSAR rotary wing pilots can extend their contracts by four to six, or seven to nine more years, and receive $28,000 per year, but are not eligible for lump-sum payments.

Combat systems officers for bombers, fighters, CSAR, C2ISR and special operations are also seeing increases. They can sign up for four to six more years at $20,000 annually, or seven to nine more years at $25,000 annually. They cannot receive up-front payments.

Last year, CSOs could only sign up for five more years. And 12F fighter CSOs and 12B bomber CSOs were eligible for annual payments of $15,000, 12H CSAR CSOs were eligible for annual payments of $20,000, and 12S special operations and 12R C2ISR CSOs were eligible for annual payments of $10,000.

But Air Force officials have also acknowledged that solving the pilot crisis isn’t just a matter of throwing money at the problem.

“We rely on our skilled aviators not only to win in today’s fights, but also to help us train the next generation of aviators who will ensure our nation is ready to counter reemerging strategic competitors,” Brig. Gen. Mike Koscheski, the head of an aircrew crisis task force set up to solve the pilot retention problem. “While financial incentives are important, we know we must address our aircrew’s concerns about their quality of service and work-life balance if we want to retain the world’s best aviators.”

F4E Mx
07-16-2018, 05:15 AM
So, how much extra are we going to pay the pilotless airplane airplane pilots again?

rickair7777
07-16-2018, 06:52 AM
The Navy doesn't really have a culture problem (other than the usual DoD mandated political distractions), so they don't have a pilot shortage YET. That might change, but it looks like they're trying to lead the problem.

Grumble
07-16-2018, 02:03 PM
The Navy doesn't really have a culture problem (other than the usual DoD mandated political distractions), so they don't have a pilot shortage YET. That might change, but it looks like they're trying to lead the problem.

The hell you say... they’re gapping DH billets in the VFA community because they physically don’t have anyone to put in them. I’m sure PERS-43 will have some elegant spin to put on it at Hook this year.

USMCFLYR
07-16-2018, 02:24 PM
The hell you say... they’re gapping DH billets in the VFA community because they physically don’t have anyone to put in them. I’m sure PERS-43 will have some elegant spin to put on it at Hook this year.
Will they take old fat retired guys back who stretch the limits of the velcro on the sides of the flight suits??? :D

rickair7777
07-16-2018, 03:01 PM
The hell you say... they’re gapping DH billets in the VFA community because they physically don’t have anyone to put in them. I’m sure PERS-43 will have some elegant spin to put on it at Hook this year.

That's more of a pipeline management thing. DH candidates are at the sweet spot to get out, with the airlines hiring, and they FOSed all those guys a few years ago. And it would probably show up first at VFA, hard lifestyle, good airline candidates.

I don't think the other communities are in trouble, but that's not my lane right now so I could be wrong.

Yes they will have more attrition in this climate, but I don't think it's like the AF with guys desperate to get out and just need a job to enable it.

Grumble
07-16-2018, 06:01 PM
http://sites.psu.edu/ashtonrclblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/5474/2014/03/Kool-Aid-Man.jpg

F4E Mx
07-17-2018, 03:00 AM
Didn't the Navy just finish crapping over a lot of 0-3s in the promotion cycle, guys who had done multiple combat cruises and filled in all the squares?

rickair7777
07-17-2018, 06:55 AM
Didn't the Navy just finish crapping over a lot of 0-3s in the promotion cycle, guys who had done multiple combat cruises and filled in all the squares?

Yes but it's complicated. That was not directly a community management issue, since Navy promotion boards are staffed by officers from all warfare backgrounds. For whatever reason (might even have been personality driven) that board selected more officers from other specialties.

The community management aspect comes in where the aviation community has to prepare it's people to compete at a promotion board against other designators, so that largely depends on the bar the rest of the navy is setting with schools, degrees, joint quals, etc.

If the Navy got in big trouble with pilot staffing they could direct the boards to screen more aviators, but the boards don't to that proactively... they use the screening criteria specifically handed down by big Navy (mandatory by law).

If this sort of thing happened consistently over multiple years, then somebody should have done something about it.

Worth noting... the Navy is notoriously not appreciative towards "quitters", so they are not worried about taking care of outward bound personnel or those who have not selected for promotion. But that doesn't really impact the folks in the front half of the pack, culture-wise.

CX500T
07-17-2018, 07:03 AM
Didn't the Navy just finish crapping over a lot of 0-3s in the promotion cycle, guys who had done multiple combat cruises and filled in all the squares?

2010/11/12 got rid of a bunch, then the pendulum swung back and then back to crapping out a bunch of guys again.

Those of us who got cut in 10/11 didn't have the current hiring wave at full strength yet, so it was an interesting couple years trying to put food on the table.

I had 3 years left on my contract and was shown the door with six months notice, as were many others.

Of course, I was gone and underway for 4 of those 6 months, so job hunting/career transition prep was "interesting".

Big Windy
07-17-2018, 07:20 AM
Your turn Army.

flensr
07-19-2018, 12:01 PM
I did the math... taking the USAF bonus back in 2004ish ended up costing me and my wife roughly $6 mil in salary, in return for $250k in bonus, $1.5 mil in pension, and retiree tricare.

Financially it wasn't worth it. The pension and medical does offer quite a bit of peace of mind and buffer against a future recession, plus some people actually like the military job and lifestyle, so there's the tradeoff.

Grumble
07-23-2018, 09:03 AM
Worth noting... the Navy is notoriously not appreciative towards "quitters", so they are not worried about taking care of outward bound personnel or those who have not selected for promotion. But that doesn't really impact the folks in the front half of the pack, culture-wise.

A lot of those at the front of the pack shouldn’t be there because of this mindset.

I had this conversation with a Skipper who would throw “quitters” under the bus on their last fitrep but would ***** about the quality coming up the ranks. Years later I had the opportunity to finally tell him his leadership and others with that mindset were to blame. You take an EP and give him a P out the door, you just artificially promoted a P or MP who would’ve never gotten that EP.

Oh and it’s a volunteer force, when a guy decides he’s done volunteering he/she still stood up and raised their hand when 99.9% of Americans wouldn’t. F their “quitter” mindset. How about you say thanks for your service and good luck?

SaltyDog
07-23-2018, 10:47 AM
A lot of those at the front of the pack shouldn’t be there because of this mindset.

I had this conversation with a Skipper who would throw “quitters” under the bus on their last fitrep but would ***** about the quality coming up the ranks. Years later I had the opportunity to finally tell him his leadership and others with that mindset were to blame. You take an EP and give him a P out the door, you just artificially promoted a P or MP who would’ve never gotten that EP.

Oh and it’s a volunteer force, when a guy decides he’s done volunteering he/she still stood up and raised their hand when 99.9% of Americans wouldn’t. F their “quitter” mindset. How about you say thanks for your service and good luck?

Always considered penny wise and pound foolish. On the RSV side never did that. You earned what you earned.
On the AC side, more prevalent. Used to tell AC folks not to do that since it could kill a future reserve leader career that we would need on our side of the fence line to help them again on the AC side.
Also pointed out that those leaving AC were some of Navy's best recruiters for local kids, nieces, nephews, kids friends, etc. Mess that up, especially after a productive and honorable career to date, tough to attract future Navy volunteers.

rickair7777
07-23-2018, 11:12 AM
Always considered penny wise and pound foolish. On the RSV side never did that. You earned what you earned.
On the AC side, more prevalent. Used to tell AC folks not to do that since it could kill a future reserve leader career that we would need on our side of the fence line to help them again on the AC side.
Also pointed out that those leaving AC were some of Navy's best recruiters for local kids, nieces, nephews, kids friends, etc. Mess that up, especially after a productive and honorable career to date, tough to attract future Navy volunteers.

Most of them don't see the intangibles, just what's in front of their nose.

But in my experience RC boards can generally read between the lines when an EP hot runner downshifts to a pack P and low GPA within six months of AC/RC transition.

C130driver
07-23-2018, 07:39 PM
So, how much extra are we going to pay the pilotless airplane airplane pilots again?

Ask your great great great grandchildren. We are still flying 70+ year old BUFFs..



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